- 1 DSLR Controller (BETA)
- 2 AirDroid
- 3 avast! Mobile Security
- 4 Total Commander
- 5 DropSnap
- 6 Google+
- 7 Dual Mount SD Widget
- 8 Hacker's Keyboard
- 9 IntoNow
- 10 iOnRoad Augmented Driving
- 11 HBO GO
- 12 MAX GO
- 13 Network Monitor Mini
- 14 Paper Camera
- 15 Pano
- 16 Screencast Video Recorder
- 17 Read It Later Pro
- 18 Cocktail Flow - Drink Recipes
- 19 Google Music
- 20 Any.DO: To Do List | Task List
- 21 SeekDroid
- 22 Hexamob Recovery PRO *ROOT*
- 23 Winamp
- 24 TouchRetouch
- 25 BaconReader For Reddit
- 26 SHREDroid
- 27 BitTorrent Remote
- 28 Marvel Comics
- 29 DC Comics
- 30 Visidon AppLock
- 31 Outdoor Navigation
- 32 PCAutoWaker
- 33 Smart Rotator
- 34 Bird Bar Notifications
- 35 Prox Pro
We know that searching through thousands of applications can be frustrating, so we've compiled the best 35 from 2011 just for you. It's called a Smartphone for a reason, so make sure you get the best out of your device by checking out the list below. Your phone or tablet can probably do much more than you ever imagined, you just have to find the right app for the job.
DSLR Controller (BETA)
If you're an aspiring photographer who owns a Canon EOS DSLR and an Android device, you'll be overjoyed to hear about a nifty little app named DSLR Controller. With this cool app, you can plug your Canon EOS DSLR into a compatible Android phone or tablet and access a wealth of controls right from your device. Keep in mind that it is still in beta, and only works with select devices. Some require root to work, and some don't.
AirDroid will give you a new, fancy way to manage and control your Android device from a web browser on any computer. This app lets you access and modify files, pictures, applications, contacts and music. It will also allow you to fully utilize SMS from the browser, giving you the ultimate level of convenience. On top of all of those radical features, you'll also have access to device stats and charts, and a task manager to kill or uninstall running apps. Sound awesome? Well it is, so check it out.
avast! Mobile Security
Avast! Mobile Security may very well be the most dynamic and feature rich security app on the Android Market. Not only will this app protect your phone from dangerous apps and potential malware, it also has great anti-theft features that make it virtually impossible for a thief to use your phone. In my opinion, one of the coolest anti-theft features is in regards to SIM cards. You can set up a white list for approved SIMs, and if an unauthorized card is inserted, the device will be locked and you'll receive a notification of the new number and geo-location of the stolen device. Pretty incredible, right?
We know that there are quite a few file managers on the Android Market, but one stands out from the rest, and that's Total Commander. Funny enough, Total Commander is still in beta, but it already beats out many other clients. It has a huge list of features and gives you total control over the files on your device (hence the name). One of the coolest features has to be the ability to view files in two panes on the same screen, making file browsing and editing much easier. Best of all, it is completely free and will remain that way forever.
Looking for an insanely simple way to upload pictures and photos from your device to DropBox? Well, nothing is more simple than automatic, and that's exactly what DropSnap does. This app will instantly upload any photos or videos you take directly to your DropBox account. You won't ever have to manually sync, and your memories will be safe if you ever lose your phone.
Google+ is an incredible new social website, but you should already know that. If you're addicted to Google+ and want to share on the go, the Google+ mobile app has you covered. Use Instant Upload to automatically upload photos and videos to your private album, so you can share what you want quickly. You can also chat with everyone in your circles using Messenger, or video chat with your friends using Mobile Hangouts.
Dual Mount SD Widget
If you're like me, then you hate the fact that your Android device doesn't allow you to access the contents of your SD card when mounted to your computer. However, one day not so long ago, a beam of blinding light suddenly came down from the heavens, and upon it rode Dual Mount SD Widget. This incredibly useful widget will allow you to mount your SD to your device and computer at the same time, putting an end to your SD mounting woes.
Hacker's Keyboard is an alternative to the stock keyboard on your device. While it is geared more toward tablet use, it will also work wonderfully on most phones as well. What this app offers is the full 5-row key layout that you'll find on regular computer keyboards. It features a full number pad and arrow keys, making many tasks much easier.
For those of you who are really into the social scene, IntoNow takes it to a completely new level. This app revolves around TV shows, letting you share what shows you're watching on Facebook and Twitter. It can also introduce you to new shows by telling you which shows your friends are watching.
iOnRoad Augmented Driving
Augmented reality apps haven't really shown much use in the past, but iOnRoad Augmented Driving changes the game. This app puts a driving assistant right on the dash of your car. It can alert you when you're driving recklessly, exceeding a set speed limit, and warn you of potential collisions. It'll even read off SMS messages, and direct phone calls through your car speakers. In addition to those sweet features, iOnRoad offers social integration, a clever way of promoting safe driving that allows you to compete with your friends for the title of best driver.
HBO GO and MAX GO are two very similar apps. The first will allow you to watch over 1,400 HBO shows, and the second will allow you to watch over 400 hit movies and indie films, all from your mobile device. All that's needed is a subscription to each respective service, and you'll be watching shows and movies on the go.
Network Monitor Mini
Network Monitor Mini is a nice little monitor that displays live connection statistics in the corner of your screen. This way you can keep an eye on the amount of bandwidth you are using when uploading, downloading, or just browsing the internet. The pro version auto-hides the widget when there is no traffic, and is also ad-free. Check it out!
Sometimes taking regular pictures is just plain boring. Paper Camera is here to change that, and it does so in a unique way. This app will put a virtual filter on your device's camera lens, allowing you to see some pretty cool effects in real-time. It will transform what you see into a cartoon-like world, adding some extra fun to photo taking.
Pano, another spectacular photography app, will allow you to take some pretty incredible panoramic photos with your phone. Not only can you take regular panoramas, but with the ability to take up to 16 shots, 360-degree photos are entirely possible. There really isn't much more to it, but the simplicity is what makes this app amazing.
Screencast Video Recorder
Screencast Video Recorder has to be my favorite app of the entire year. This app is for rooted users only, but most of the individuals who would be interested in an app like this are probably already rooted. With Screencast, you can make recordings of your device's screen in high quality with audio included, making it extremely useful for reviews, trailers, and tutorials.
Read It Later Pro
Don't have time to read or watch all of the super-cool things you find on the web? Well, why not read it later with Read It Later Pro. This nice little app will let you save any web page or video on your device for viewing at a later time. What's even more awesome is that your saved content will be automatically synced across all of your devices.
Cocktail Flow - Drink Recipes
Tired of always being the life of the party? Yeah, me neither. Cocktail Flow - Drink Recipes will make it a bit more natural, though. This is the ultimate cocktail recipe application, and it can even help you brew up drink concoctions with what you already have in your cabinet. Cocktail Flow will put you on your way to becoming the ultimate bartender. What's not to love?
Maybe I'm just a Google fanboy, but it seems that nearly everything they produce is gold. Google Music is no exception, and really puts the power of cloud storage to use. This app lets you keep your music in the cloud to save space on your device, and all of the music you buy on the Android Market will automatically appear. You can even share a free full play of your songs with your friends on Google+.
Any.DO: To Do List | Task List
Any.DO is the ultimate to-do application for Android. It is probably one of the most feature rich apps of it's kind, and I find myself using it quite often. Not only does it help you keep track of things you need to get done, but it can also use voice recognition to log spoken tasks on the go. One of the coolest features has to be shared tasks. With shared tasks, you and your friends or family can collaborate on things and have one automatically updated list on all of your devices. Pretty awesome, huh?
Yes, there are many apps on the Android Market that assist in finding lost or stolen devices, but SeekDroid is one of the best. If you ever become of victim of theft or end up losing your device, this app can help protect your privacy and get your possessions back with a few simple steps. On top of being able wipe your device or locate it in real-time using GPS, you'll also have the option to see the SIM and phone number of the person using your phone, so catching thieves becomes child's play.
Hexamob Recovery PRO *ROOT*
Ever delete valuable data from your SD card on accident? I know I have, and it sucks trying to get it back. However, Hexamob Recovery Pro makes the whole process a lot less stressful. While the UI isn't visually appealing, this sweet app will do the dirty work behind recovering recently deleted files. As long as the information hasn't been overwritten, you'll have a high chance of seeing your files again with Hexamob Recovery.
If you're a big media consumer looking for a seamless app that can make things easier, then Winamp may be right up your ally. This media player will allow you to play, manage and sync music from your computer to your Android device. It features wireless desktop sync if you're using Winamp Media Player on your computer, iTune Import for those who don't, and will also give you access to quite a few radio stations via SHOUTcast.
TouchRetouch is a phenomenal image editing app that does some pretty incredible things. With this app you can remove unwanted things from your images in seconds using just your finger. Not only is it useful if something finds it's way into your photo, but can also be quite a bit of fun to play around with. If you want to get creative with your photographs, check it out!
BaconReader For Reddit
Just can't get enough of Reddit before you leave home? Well now you can consume all of your favorite content right from your Android device with BaconReader. This deliciously named client from Onelouder Apps is full of awesome features that give you complete access to everything you need for mobile Reddit browsing.
If you plan on discarding or giving away a device or SD card, then it is absolutely imperative to properly delete any previously saved data. Simply removing data doesn't usually do the trick, as anyone with the knowhow could still recover it using a few simple steps. SHREDroid is here to help, and will force your device to completely overwrite the data you delete, making it nearly impossible to recover.
BitTorrent Remote is a pretty nifty app that gives you remote access to BitTorrent running on your home computer. You can use it to check and control torrents, as well as start new ones. What's even cooler is that downloads can even be played on your Android device immediately after completion.
Marvel Comics and DC Comics are obviously two very similar applications that provide you with your favorite comic books from any Android phone or tablet. Both have extensive libraries of new comics, plus a huge list of awesome classics. There really isn't much more to it, but something this awesome doesn't have to be complex.
If you have particular apps you'd like to keep snoopers out of, and you know that the only way to live life is to be awesome at every turn, then Visidon AppLock is perfect for you. This sweet security feature will let you add facial recognition to any app on your device. Only you hold the key, and it just happens to be your beautiful face.
Going on outdoor adventures can be both exciting and rewarding. Not only do you experience the thrill of exploring new locations, but also have the added benefit of great exercise too. Take this to the next level with Outdoor Navigation, a feature-packed app that will help you plan and keep track of your trips, stay safe while doing so, and share what you're doing with friends.
Wake on LAN apps are often very spotty and confusing for the average user, but PCAutoWaker has to be the most simple one I've ever seen. It is a snap to set up, works extremely well, and provides a bit of convenience after a long work day. Once your phone connects to the same wireless network, your computer will automatically boot or wake up.
Until recently, I almost always kept the auto-rotate setting on my phone off because it annoyed me more than anything. However, Smart Rotator has created a delightfully useful tool that will allow you to set which apps can auto-rotate. That way, you can have your cake and eat it too. No longer will you have to battle to keep your screen in the orientation you want it to be in.
Bird Bar Notifications
One thing I hate is having to exit out of a full screen game to check on my notifications. Enter Bird Bar Notifications, a unique tool that allows you to swipe down on your screen to reveal your status bar even when it isn't visible. Not only do you gain that ability, but you can also enable pop-up notifications, which is even better in my opinion.
These are not the Droids you're looking for. Well, maybe they are, but that's not the point. Prox Pro adds some Jedi ability to your device, allowing you to perform actions on your phone using hand gestures. Keep in mind that your phone needs to have a proximity sensor to work, but nowadays most phones do. Currently, you can use hand gestures to open and close your status bar, go home, put the screen to sleep, change the ringer mode, launch applications, and a bit more. Now all you need is a lightsaber.
Get downloading, people! You now have a list of very useful apps from 2011 to try out. Let us know what you think, and if you don't see your favorite apps from last year on our list, tell us what they are. If you're looking for some awesome games, too, then check out our list of 2011's best games: Part 1: Racing & Sports, Part 2: Action & Adventure, and Part 3: Puzzle & Casual.